laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

Our extended family went to a lovely resort for the holidays and I was astonished at the table manners some of them displayed in the fancy restaurants. They brought personal DVD players for the children, the twenty/thirty-somethings brought their iPads to the table, where they proceeded to text and play games during dinner, and even one elderly uncle was fussing with his iPhone during the meal!

I think this is terribly rude and inconsiderate; this was a family holiday gathering, and not an inexpensive one either. Is there any way to keep this from happening at future family gatherings?




Dear Billy,

The best way to accomplish that is to stay home. The next best suggestion is to run right out and buy Apple stock, if you haven’t already done so. Since a cross section of the family seemed to endorse this behavior, it isn’t likely to stop, even for a family dinner. Either most of the family wasn’t raised well, or they find themselves and other family members uninteresting; in any event, it doesn’t seem like it was an enjoyable meal so opt out the next time or have a separate table for the electronically attached group.

A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

I am amazed at the carelessness with which people seem to travel on airplanes these days. There are those who wear big bulky backpacks and then turn around and knock into people without seeming to even notice. Some of the outfits I see people wearing in airports make me wonder why the airlines don’t have a dress code; do those people think that strangers want to sit next to them with their thises and thats hanging out, or worse – over the side of their seat into ours? And how about people who take smelly food and then stuff the bag into the seat pocket in front of them for the duration of the trip?

Wish I Could Afford a Private Jet


Dear Wish,

I’m right there with you at the airport! People wearing backpacks should have a chin strap or something so when they turn around they are aware of the space behind them. As for outfits ­ – if only I could photograph some of them and post them somewhere on a “Most wanted-not-to-look-like” poster it could be tons of fun. Perhaps we could stick post-its on their back suggesting they glance in at least a two-way mirror before leaving the house. Let’s face it – most of us over forty and one hundred-ish pounds don’t look our best dressed only in tight leggings with a crop top; if you can pull it off with style, air kisses to you, but have a look from behind first. As for the men who wear short shorts and sit with their legs splayed – how about leaving Ranger at home and donning a bit of briefs for the journey, seriously?

If something is truly offensive, talk to the flight attendant. According to the US Department of Labor: “Major airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety and security of the traveling public. Although the primary job of the flight attendants is to ensure that security and safety regulations are followed, attendants also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for passengers.”

L. A. Plume

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